The Liebke Ratings: Women’s Ashes Test match

Dan Liebke Columnist

By , Dan Liebke is a Roar Expert

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    With Australia 4-2 up in the women’s Ashes after just three matches, in seeming defiance of the very laws of arithmetic, the two sides visited North Sydney Oval to play the sole Test match of the series.

    Here are the ratings for the Ashes Test.

    Television coverage
    Grade: F

    Of course, far fewer people saw the Test than they might have, given Channel Nine’s decision to not telecast this particular match, leaving Cricket Australia to instead stream the series live to fans around the country. A wonderful solution, especially when you consider the strength and reliability of the nation’s internet infrastructure.

    Ha ha ha. No. Of course, the streaming was highly flakey. Maybe not for all people, but certainly for more people than the alternative scenario of turning on a television set.

    It was later explained that CA and the Nine Network had been caught somewhat unaware by the popularity of and demand for the series. Of course they were. This feels like about the tenth time in recent years that television stations have been surprised that people want to watch women’s cricket.

    Fingers crossed they’ll pick up on the pattern within the next decade or so.

    Armageddon
    Grade: B-

    England won the toss and elected to bat. From a strong position of 4-214 they suffered a collapse of 6-66 to be all out for 280.

    A side collapsing for 6-66 is, of course, one of the harbingers for the end of days, according to the Bible.

    Other signs of Armageddon according to the Book of Revelation? “A nation led by a Knight”. “A man who shall leap unto the sky with each great milestone he reacheth”. And, most terrifying of all, the “arrival of an army of the barmy”.

    Brace yourselves, people.

    Ellyse Perry
    Grade: A

    At one point, England’s total of 280 looked like it might have been a difficult one for Australia to match. Indeed, at more than one point it looked that way. 3-61. 4-95. 5-168. All those scores seemed perilous from Australia’s perspective.

    But the opposite of ‘perilous’ sounds very much like ‘Ellyse Perry’. And so it proved here with Australia’s finest all-rounder registering her first international century. And then her second, as she crashed her way to 213 not out.

    So good was Perry’s innings that she managed to bring up the double century twice, with a six and a four. Freakish skills.

    Okay, that’s technically not true. The six that had seemed to bring up her double century was ruled to have been merely a four that left her a couple of runs short. Still, to even be playing in those kind of Maxwellian counter-intuitive areas is an exciting turn of events.

    Ellyse Perry celebrates a century

    AAP Image/Daniel Munoz

    Balls of the century
    Grade: B+

    After another four and a six from Perry to rub it in, Australia declared at 9-448, with a little over a day remaining. The pressure was back on England. Defeat here would mean Australia retained the Ashes.

    The home side’s secret weapon? Amanda-Jade Wellington, who pulled out a near-perfect replica of Shane Warne’s ball of the century to bowl Tammy Beaumont for 37. The ball did the whole swerve past the leg stump line, then rip past the outside edge of the bat into the off stump bail and everything.

    Heck, we even had a Healy in the background celebrating with astonished delight at the dismissal.

    So it was disappointing from Beaumont that she couldn’t be bothered pulling out the full Befuddled Mike Gatting routine. Oh sure, she did a little of the ‘look back over the shoulder in amazement as you walk off’ bit. But she forgot the raised eyebrows. The shake of the head. The questioning look at the umpire about whether or not Healy might have sneakily knocked the bails off.

    Ah well. Maybe next century.

    Four-day Tests
    Grade: B-

    Despite Wellington’s wicket, England’s attempts to save the game never really looked in trouble. Beaumont’s 37 was followed by Lauren Winfield falling for 34. But after that, captain Heather Knight and Georgia Elwiss batted England back into the lead and to the safety of a draw. The four points from this Test were therefore shared and the series score now stands at 6-4 to Australia.

    A shame, really, that there wasn’t a fifth day to the Test. Yes, the fifth day might have just seen England continue to bat. But who knows? Maybe they would have been bowled out, setting up a last-day chase. Or maybe they would have declared and Australia would have collapsed. Or maybe Ellyse Perry would have spent the dinner interval showing us the spaceship within which she escaped the exploding planet Krypton. So many possibilities.

    Hopefully, this result makes the various men’s cricket boards around the world reconsider their increasing desire for four-day Tests. Indeed, if anything, we should be looking the other direction. Why not six or seven-day Tests? How awesome would a Test cricket week be?

    Always remember: more cricket is better than less cricket.

    The Ashes are here! After all the build-up, follow all the first Test action between Australia and England with our Ashes live scores and blog.